The Hidden Emotion Behind a Business Phone Call

When customers call your business it's driven by need but also by a hidden emotion. Do your staff have the skills to identify and respond to this emotion?

Emotion? What could emotion possibly have to do with business phone calls? Surely a phone call from a customer to a business is just a straightforward exchange between two people? Many of us would assume this to be the case but if you look a little closer, you will usually discover emotion hidden behind most business calls. That’s right. Those so-called “fluffy” feelings can have a big impact on your company. So, it’s important to know how to respond in a way that successfully supports your business instead of working against it.

Emotion Drives Your Customer

Every business call is driven by a need – a need for your services, advice or expertise. And what lies behind that? Emotion, of course. If a person has contacted you by phone to ask for your support, they may be emotional about that decision. They could be stressed, rushed, anxious, or if they’re calling to deal with a problem, they may be angry. As rational as many of us like to think ourselves, we are all driven by emotion to a certain extent!

Customers are driven by emotion as well as need
Customers are driven by emotion as well as need

Why should our interactions by phone be any different? That’s why answering business phone calls in a professional and friendly way is so important. Never underestimate the hidden (or not so hidden!) emotion behind a phone call and the value of responding appropriately to those feelings. The phone call is still a vital part of strong customer relationships. While email and social media are incredibly powerful, it is phone calls, involving the voice and direct one to one contact, which can help to make or break a connection between a business and its customers.

The Phone Call Paradox

Take a look around. Whether you’re in the office, on the train or on the street, you’ll see people looking at their smartphones almost everywhere you go. Yet the irony is that “More than three-quarters of all adults in the UK own smartphones but 25% don’t use them to make calls" 25%! That’s a whole quarter of all the people out there choosing not to make phone calls! Meanwhile, a shocking 75% of people whose calls are sent to voicemail won’t leave a message because they don’t think that they will ever be heard and 85% of all missed calls will not call back.

But what does that mean for the business phone call and dealing with those hidden emotions? Here’s the paradox: while your customers may often use other channels such as email and social media to contact you, when they do decide to get in touch by phone (and sometimes there is no substitute for a call, whether it’s an emergency or just the need for a one to one conversation) that call is even more important than it would have been if they used the phone more frequently.

It also means that how you deal with the phone call is even more vital. Because if someone has finally made the decision to phone you and only hears your voicemail message, or worse still, can’t get through at all, how much more negative might they end up feeling? The reality behind the business phone call paradox is that with people making fewer calls, the time they do contact a company by phone is even higher pressure and higher value in terms of customer relationships.

The Business Impact of Emotional Intelligence

Still not convinced about the hidden emotional impact of business phone calls? It might surprise you to hear that research shows it can be easier to pick up on a person’s emotions when we’re on the phone with them than when we are face to face with them!

You need time, experience and empathy to provide great customer service
Do you have the necessary time, experience and empathy to handle your customers calls?

What does that mean for business phone calls? One key point is that it can be very helpful to make sure that the people answering your calls have the time and experience to not only answer professionally but also to pick up on the emotion that your customer or potential customer might be feeling. Their insight into your customer’s spoken or unspoken emotions can help to shape how they respond to them and could make all the difference in whether that person chooses to buy into your services. From finding a plumber in an emergency to selecting their next business partner, there is much more emotion going into that phone call than you might expect. Being prepared for it could make all the difference to your company.

Embrace Those Feelings

Excited, worried, anxious or doubtful… feelings and emotions are an often hidden but important aspect of the business phone call. While the idea of dealing with your customers’ emotions in a call may seem daunting, it doesn’t need to be. Keep in mind that negative feelings in this context aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They’re a sign of how much the customer has invested in the call. They are also often a route to making a positive decision or finding a new solution to a problem – ideally your business.

That ring tone may signal a business call, but it’s always coming from a human being. And human beings are all about emotion. That’s why it’s beneficial for every company to acknowledge that there is at least some emotion behind most calls from their customers. But don’t let that concern you about how you deal with them. As long as you aim to make the phone call a comfortable and helpful experience and ensure that you listen to what that potential customer has to say, you should be addressing those emotions effectively. Your job as a business owner is to grow your customer base by making those interactions as positive as possible - not only by being available when that customer wants to get in touch but also by ensuring they have a positive experience when they do get through. A specialist company can help with that.

Embrace those feelings
Do you need specialist help with your customer interactions?

Whatever they may be feeling, every phone call is an opportunity to shape your customer’s experience of your company. We’ve all had experience of how even a minor interaction with a fellow human being can change how we feel. Whether it’s annoyance or stress, a pleasant, professional phone interaction has the power to transform not only part of our day but our view of a business! That means making sure that the call is answered promptly rather than going to voicemail, having a clear initial response to the caller and then providing a straightforward route to addressing their enquiry. Get all of these right and the only emotions your customer should be left with are positive ones.

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